A record 98 overdose deaths kept authorities busy in Yakima County in 2021. Last year the record wasn't broken but still 83 people lost thier lives to drug overdoses in Yakima County. Coroner Jim Curtice says about half of the deaths are connected to the deadly drug fentanyl.

Just days into the new year and Yakima is already seeing overdose deaths

17 days into the new year the number of suspected overdose deaths stands at 4 the same number Yakima County saw at this same time last year.
Curtice says he's hoping for no more deaths but he knows he'll be investigating a lot more suspected overdose deaths this year especially with a surge of fentanyl coming from the open southern US Mexico border.
Curtice has a warning.

Fentanyl is the hidden killer in Yakima

He says fentanyl continues to be the hidden killer in many drugs including the popular blue 30 pills of which he says many are laced with the deadly drug but are sold on the street as Percocet or other less harmful drugs.
He says many people who thought they were taking one kind of drug were killed by drugs laced with fentanyl. Curtice also believes local cocaine is also laced with the drug as well.

Curtice says he has no idea what the future will hold

Curtice says he works closely with victim families and speaks around the valley to various groups about the dangers of fentanyl and the challenge authorities have in communities like Yakima.
Some of the overdoses included Yakima's homeless population.
All total 75 people considered homeless died of Yakima streets last year from a variety of causes including drug overdoses.

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